Improving the lives of Edmontonians

This past summer, I worked as a Business Analyst with the Integrated Infrastructure Services Branch in the City of Edmonton from May to August 2016. The map in the picture is a neighbourhood map of Edmonton, which was provided by supervisor when I did neighbourhood matching. It is meaningful to me because it always reminds me of those memorable days as an intern at the City of Edmonton.

Why did I decide to take part in an internship?

As a first-year MBA student specializing in finance, and with five years of diversified experience in project management, I was seeking internship opportunities which could combine my professional experience in project management with what I am learning about in the MBA program. I thought an internship would also provide me with a good adaption to the Canadian workplace culture.

What’s the internship application process like? 

The City’s recruitment process is truly formal and friendly. First, I submitted an application. Then I received a phone call from the City of Edmonton notifying that I was selected for an interview. The interview was conducted by my prospective supervisor and another manager. Their professionalism and kindness impressed me a lot and helped me feel comfortable during the interview. Finally, I received a verbal offer from the City of Edmonton, followed by an email offer I needed to confirm back. Each step was updated to “Application Status” under the candidate application user account with the City as the process was going on.

Throughout this whole process, MBA Career Management Centre helped me refine my resume and cover letter to align my skill set and experience with the job description, and coached me on how to present myself in the best possible way during job interviews. Special thanks to MBA Career Management Centre for their professional advice and patience!

What was my role and the projects I worked on?

I worked on a number of projects including the Branch’s 2016 capital cash flows, variance analysis and cost recovery model.  Responsibilities included analyzing project financial issues, conducting research internally and externally, gathering information from different sessions to understand their existing practice, documenting findings, and presenting recommendations to the management team. I was asked to return to present my findings from some of these projects and I am glad that I could contribute value through this position.

What did I learn from the internship and how can I apply it to a future career?

The internship with the City provided an invaluable experience to witness the initiatives that the City is undertaking to improve the lives of Edmonton’s citizens. From my internship position, I discovered that I could apply strategic planning, data analysis and cash flow models which I learned in the first year of the MBA to a real workplace. This experience has given me a great transition into Canadian workplace culture, and has advanced both my research and analytical skills.

What advice would I give new MBA students on how to land an internship?

Take the first year to find your field of interest and keep building your knowledge and skill set. Meanwhile, do not narrow down your choices to limit yourself. It is always worth giving many things a try. You will lose nothing and instead, you will learn from the experience.

Written by Miao Song